Geneseo, N.Y. – The Oswego State men’s ice hockey team successfully defended its SUNYAC Championship with a gritty 7-6 win as Shawn Hulshof netted a power-play goal from Alex Botten with just 28.7 seconds remaining in the game.
With the win, Oswego moves to 20-6-2 and more importantly earn an automatic qualification to the 2014 NCAA Division III Championship.
The Lakers have been to the Frozen Four each of the last four seasons and will find out where and who it plays during the NCAA Selection Show at 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Alex Botten was named the SUNYAC Championship’s Most Valuable Player as he distributed five assists and scored the go-ahead goal late to put the Lakers up 6-5.
Also named to the All-Tournament team were Chris Carr (two goals, one assist), Bobby Gertsakis (one assist as a defenseman) and Matt Zawadzki (40 saves).
In the first period, Oswego wasted no time getting on the board as Carr was very opportunistic. The junior collected a rebound off a fired Nick Rivait shot and glided past the goalie for a score on an open net just :36 into the game. Rivait was credited with an assist as was Botten.
After controlling the pace, puck and physicality over the opening minutes, Oswego found another way to be opportune. The Knights were whistled for charging at 9:55 to give the Lakers the first power-play of the game. Botten was at it again as he distributed a pass to Matt Galati who ripped an attempt past the Geneseo goaltender to put the Lakers ahead 2-0 at 11:17.
The Knights tried to make a momentum swing later in the period as they killed another Oswego extra-man opportunity and took advantage of their own. Oswego was caught for goalie interference at 16:13and Geneseo capitalized with a power-play score just :16 into the chance.
The Lakers seemingly took control of the game for good in the second period, rattling off four-straight goals to take a 5-1 lead over the first 13:55. Josh Timpano made it 3-1 when Gertsakis blasted a shot that he deflected into the net.Stephen Johnson also had an assist on the goal.
At 9:52, Carr netted his second goal of the game off a pass from Denton King to make it 4-1 Lakers. Galati then played copycat with his second goal of the night at 13:05, this from Carr and Botten.
Geneseo proved it would be a nip-and-tuck game, however, netting two goals in the middle period’s final two minutes to cut the Laker lead to 5-3.
In the third period, the Knights picked up where they left off, tying the game at 5-5 with two goals in the opening 5:30 to complete a four-goal spurt of their own.
This is when Botten scored the go-ahead goal with 10:30 to play. Just under five-minutes later, Geneseo made it a nail-biter again, knotting the game at 6-6 with 5:38 to go.
At 17:57, the Knights were caught for roughing that would essentially put the Lakers on the power-play for the remainder of the game and eventually gave way to the game-winner.